'Vanek said he would have to be offered "maximum money" and the chance to play at the NHL level to sign quickly. Thompson, who also is the Wild's chief amateur scout, views him as a gifted player with room for growth. "There's not many people anywhere in the draft that have his qualities as an offensive player," he said. "I think he can become more consistent in his commitment to the game."'
'With new owner Tom Golisano on the podium, Buffalo took the third-ranked North American prospect, although Vanek hails from Austria.'
'"Buffalo's the only team that came with a lot of guys to Minneapolis," Vanek said. "We just did some testing and talking, and then I haven't heard from them since. I did most of my (other) meetings in Nashville."'
'Managing partner Larry Quinn said it is "very unlikely" the team will exercise the $1 million buyout of its contract with Adelphia and remove the games from the Empire Sports Network in favor of another carrier.'
'''In comparison to last year, we have a budget and we have an expectation to make the playoffs next year,'' Regier said. ''And when you go in there with those expectations it gives you a sense of where you have to go, where you can go and where you can't.'''
'If the Sabres don't trade the fifth pick, they might select Thomas Vanek, the dazzling forward who guided Minnesota to the NCAA title two months ago in HSBC Arena.'
'Of the team's five No. 1 picks since 1999, one player has been traded and two have not developed.'
'The Sabres would rather have more immediate help, thank you very much. They need an offensive defenseman to lead the power play. They could use another scoring forward, too.'
'''Tom Golisano is a cornerstone of our hope for the future when it comes to things that help our society,'' Republican Sen. James Alesi said. Alesi also called the Rochester businessman ''the George Eastman of the 21st century'' for charitable giving around Rochester that Alesi said rivals that of the founder of the Eastman Kodak Co. Golisano stepped in earlier this year to buy the financially troubled Sabres. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Golisano's $92 million purchase will keep the team in Buffalo.'
'Ron Bertovich, the former executive vice president of administration for the Buffalo Sabres, has been introduced as the new commissioner of the Illinois-based Mid-Continent Conference.'
'Never in 21 years of covering sports have I met an athlete who measures up to LaFontaine when assessing both the magnitude of the talent and the quality of the individual. He was a superstar without pretense, an idol securely grounded, always stopping to put himself in the other person's shoes.'
'"You can't say "OK, he scored X-number of goals in junior, so he's going to score X-number goals in the American League and X-number goals in the National League,' " Luce said. "God, we wish it was like that. Then there'd be no mistakes."'
'Regier can't wait for someone down the road, not with Golisano and Quinn raising the standards and setting a $30 million payroll. It's more likely Regier will take the safer approach, which means trading the pick if he can find a proven veteran, preferably young and reasonably priced, who can help the Sabres into the postseason.'
'The timing of Dickerson's release, a few weeks before the Buffalo Sabres determine what television and radio outlets will carry their games next season, raises another question: Was Dickerson's ouster WGR's way of telling the Sabres it would be a more friendly radio environment if the NHL club decides to vacate its contract with the Empire Sports Network and WNSA and the Adelphia stations fold?'
'Once you get past projected top pick Eric Staal, the 6-foot-3 center from Peterborough, the next dozen players selected will be roughly comparable. "You can slide back a ways in this draft and not get hurt," Regier said. "You can probably go as many as 10 players with an acceptable drop-off. Then it's a matter of what you can get for the cost of dropping back. The quality doesn't start as high, but it's probably a little deeper."'